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Here is an interesting article bringing up the issue of how to play with your child:

I agree with some of what they are saying, but not all!

For years you can only play with your child by holding back.  That is obvious.  The question is how much and how to make it seem like a real match with everyone winning a bit and losing a bit.

I think there are two techniques to make this really work:

1 Set up a handicap system. I played squash racquets with my father for years with him having to get two server’s win points to get a point, while I only had to win one serve to win a point.  Simple and effective for both of us since it allowed him to play a full game, not half hitting everything.

The other handicap my father used was to give a shot at golf for every shot I was behind.  So if he won the first three holes, for instance, I would go into the fourth hole with three shots in hand.  If I then won that hole, I would be back down to a handicap of 2.  That way we were almost always neck and neck at the last hole and we had both played as hard as possible.

2 Play soft to aim for a draw.  I think this is far less effective, but sometimes you have no choice.  They key thing is to aim for as close to a draw as you can.  They chance in the closing stages will randomly assign wins and losses in a natural way.

I played hours of soccer with my sons on this basis, constantly letting them tackle me.  Then a few years in we were staying with some friends and the other father took them out to play.  The three of them came back in having had a good time and my sons rushed up and said “Daddy, Daddy!  Owen is really amazing at football.  We couldn’t even touch the ball!”  I am a little ashamed to say that they won our games together just a little less often after that day, whether it was good for them or not!

David Morgan is Managing Director of the Easyread System, an online synthetics phonics course designed to teach dyslexic children how to read effectively